Blueberries Boost Brain Function:
Foods that have an incredible array of health benefits that go well beyond just their nutrient value are considered Superfoods. These foods are typically loaded with a combination of critical fatty acids, anti-oxidant phytonutrients and essential amino acids. Blueberries contain an extraordinary amount of unique phytonutrients and impressive anti-oxidant scores that make them a superfood.
Blueberries are a native plant to North America. They grow in shrubs that can be anywhere from 8-10 inches tall or up to 5-6 feet tall. Maine is considered the largest low bush blueberry producing country. Michigan produces the most high bush growing blueberries.
This summer superfood is loaded with antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins. These nutrients powerfully neutralize free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues. In addition, anthocyanins have been shown to improve capillary integrity and enhance the effects of Vitamin C (1, 2).
BlueBerries Are a Powerful SuperFood:
The anti-oxidant power of blueberries has been shown to be particularly useful in stabilizing brain function and protecting the neural tissue from oxidative stress (3, 4). Studies have shown improvements in memory and learning while reducing symptoms of depression (5, 6, 7)
The riper the berries the more anti-oxidant power they contain. To assess the ripeness of the berries look at the color. Riper berries are a darker blue. Blueberry season is mid-late summer, June – August. Most frozen berries are picked at maximal ripeness and frozen.
How to Purchase the Best Blueberries:
Blueberries are necessary to purchase organic due to the high amount of petrochemical pesticides that are used on the non-organic varieties. In June of 2014, the Environmental Working Group labled non-organic blueberries as a significant concern. Blueberries grown in the US were the 14th most pesticide laden out of 53 fruits and vegetables tested. They are just off the list of “Dirty Dozen” with this finding (9).
The term “wild” is considered a marketing term that producers of low bush blueberries have used to help sell their blueberries. Wild blueberries may or may not be organic. One should always check labeling and certifications.
Frozen blueberries are fantastic in shakes and smoothies. Blueberry seeds are significantly smaller than that of other berries such as strawberries, raspberries & blackberries. The small size makes them less challenging to digest and more palatable in a shake than the other berries.
Blueberries Benefit the Body By:
2. Protection from UV Radiation: The anthocyanin anti-oxidants in blueberries help protect us from the damaging effects of UV radiation exposure.
3. Improve Brain Function: The unique array of anti-oxidants in blueberries has been shown to have powerful effects on cognition, mood and memory.
Best Ways to Use Blueberries:
1) Shakes and Smoothies: This is my favorite way to utilize blueberries. Because their seeds are so small they mix well and don’t have the seedy consistency that you get with strawberries and raspberries. I prefer to use frozen blueberries for my shakes and smoothies.
2) Salads: Mix some fresh blueberries in salads and other veggie dishes
3) Grain-Free Cereal: You can use blueberries in various grain-free cereal creations. I like to put cacao nibs, coconut flakes, other nuts and seeds and blueberries in a bowl with coconut milk or coconut yogurt and make a great tasting cereal alternative.
4) Blueberry Muffins: We have various blueberry muffin recipes on our website that are absolutely amazing!!!
5) Blueberry Cookies: Blueberries can also be combined and made into some incredible cookies that I LOVE!!!!
6) Ice Cream: Blueberries are a wonderful addition to a healthy homemade ice cream
Sources For This Article:
- Zafra-Stone S, Yasmin T, Bagchi M, Chatterjee A, Vinson JA, Bagchi D. Berry anthocyanins as novel antioxidants in human health and disease prevention. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Jun;51(6):675-83. PMID: 17533652
- Bolling BW, Chen YY, Chen CY. Contributions of phenolics and added vitamin C to the antioxidant capacity of pomegranate and grape juices: synergism and antagonism among constituents. Int J Food Sci Technol. 2013 Dec 1;48(12). PMID: 24187439
- Shah SA, Yoon GH, Kim MO. Protection of the Developing Brain with Anthocyanins Against Ethanol-Induced Oxidative Stress and Neurodegeneration. Mol Neurobiol. 2014 Jul 6. PMID: 24997566
- Ali Shah S, Ullah I, Lee HY, Kim MO. Anthocyanins protect against ethanol-induced neuronal apoptosis via GABAB1 receptors intracellular signaling in prenatal rat hippocampal neurons. Mol Neurobiol. 2013 Aug;48(1):257-69. PMID: 23645118
- Spencer JP. The impact of fruit flavonoids on memory and cognition. Br J Nutr. 2010 Oct;104 Suppl 3:S40-7. PMID: 20955649
- Spencer JP. The impact of flavonoids on memory: physiological and molecular considerations. Chem Soc Rev. 2009 Apr;38(4):1152-61. PMID: 19421586
- Shewale PB, Patil RA, Hiray YA. Antidepressant-like activity of anthocyanidins from Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers in tail suspension test and forced swim test. Indian J Pharmacol. 2012 Jul-Aug;44(4):454-7. PMID: 23087504
- Jeyabalan J, Aqil F, Munagala R, Annamalai L, Vadhanam MV, Gupta RC. Chemopreventive and Therapeutic Activity of Dietary Blueberry against Estrogen-Mediated Breast Cancer. J Agric Food Chem. 2014 May 7;62(18):3963-3971. PMID: 24245576
- Environmental Working Group. All 48 fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue data. Link Here